John Fishel says one of his favorite parts of his 17-year tenure as president and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles was visiting communities around the world, where he could tap into his background as an anthropologist and social worker to determine how Jews in Los Angeles could have a global impact.
Now, in Fishel’s honor, Federation has announced a new two-year fellowship for a young leader interested in serving the Jewish community both locally and globally. Using $350,000 raised at a dinner to honor Fishel when he left Federation in 2009 and an additional $150,000 from Federation, the Fishel Fellowship will pay a stipend to a 21- to 25-year-old Jewish college graduate from Los Angeles who shows promise and creativity in impacting global humanitarian issues. The funding will support three Fellowship cycles.
The Fishel Fellow will spend the first summer with American Jewish World Service’s Volunteer Summer Program in South America, Africa or Asia, learning about local challenges and working on hands-on, intensive projects in the context of a Jewish curriculum. The Fishel fellow will then spend the academic year in a Jewish community abroad working with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Global Jewish Service Corps, followed by a summer in Israel working on Federation-sponsored projects.
The following year, the fellow will come back to Los Angeles for a paid position at Federation working on a project that stems from the international experience of the previous year and is in keeping with Federation’s mission.
Fishel, who now consults with private family foundations, will be part of the selection committee and hopes to mentor the fellow. After the first fellow, Federation hopes to continue the program.
Fishel said his travels “formed my world view and I’m hoping the candidate who participates in this fellowship will begin to have the opportunity to have those life experiences that I think are as important as educational background.”
Applications for the Fishel Fellowship are due Jan. 15.
For more information, visit jewishla.org.